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One of just two known signature models surviving to present day1921-22 Jim Thorpe Game Used Bat, PSA/DNA GU 9. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Pro Football Hall of Famer. National League Champion. No resume in athletic history is as dazzling as that of Jim Thorpe, born as a member of the Sac and Fox tribe with the name Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as "path lit by great flash of lightning." It was an appelation that would prove remarkably prophetic. The most famous graduate of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which also counts Hall of Fame pitcher Charles "Chief" Bender among its alumni, Thorpe is considered by most historians as the most naturally gifted athlete of the early twentieth century, placing him with Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan at the upper reaches of the American sports pantheon.
Despite his long career in a number of sporting disciplines, game used material from this Native American superstar is exceedingly rare in the modern collecting hobby, and inspires fierce bidding wars on the rare occasions they surface at auction. A jersey worn as a member of the Canton Bulldogs football team soared past the quarter million mark nearly a decade ago, and would likely double that figure today. We expect those sophisticated collectors who drove the bidding in 2004 to set their sights on this equally compelling artifact, the only known signature model Jim Thorpe game used bat on the planet.
Thorpe signed his first signature contract with the Hillerich & Bradsby bat company in 1921, allowing leading bat expert John Taube to assign the two-year production range announced in the lot title. Thorpe had exited the Major Leagues in 1919 but remained very active on the barnstorming circuit, where this punished lumber saw protracted use.
The bat measures thirty-five and a half inches in length and tips the scales at a hefty forty-one ounces, quite similar in dimensions to those used by Babe Ruth in this era. Ball marks coat the barrel, where slight checking is apparent from dozens of hard contacts. Green bat rack marks streak the barrel. Two ancient nails tack down the wood just above Thorpe's facsimile signature. A couple inches of vintage grip tape remain at lower handle, and mounting holes appear at knob and barrel end, suggesting the bat was once publicly displayed. LOA from PSA/DNA, GU 9.
Guide Value or Estimate: $60,000 - up.
Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Bats, Clubs, Sticks, Swords, Rifles, etc. (view shipping information)
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2017 June 29 Premium Sportscard Catalog Auction - Dallas